Butter Chicken

Vickie Parks


This is my favorite recipe for Butter Chicken, called Murgh Makhani in India. The recipe’s roots are in Punjabi cuisine and was created by Kundan lal Gujral (owner of Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in Delhi, India). The chicken is prepared in a mild curry sauce with a spice blend that contributes so much flavor to the dish. Some cooks prefer to cut the chicken into small pieces so it cooks faster. But this recipe leaves each thigh whole. It takes a little longer to cook but it adds a touch of elegance. Serve it over basmati rice with a little mango chutney and papadum or naan bread on the side.


★★★★★ 5 votes

6 (prep time does not include marinating time)
20 Min
1 Hr 20 Min
Stove Top


  • 1 1/2 cups
    full-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp
    lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    ground turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp
    garam masala
  • 2 Tbsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp
    granulated sugar
  • 3 lb
    skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 lb
    unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp
    vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 medium
    yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 clove
    garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 Tbsp
    fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or finely diced)
  • 1 Tbsp
    cumin seeds
  • 1
    cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium
    tomatoes, diced
  • 2
    red chilies such as anaheim or 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp
    kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2/3 c
    low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp
    finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 bunch
    cilantro leaves, stems removed and chopped
  • ·
    cooked basmati rice, to serve (optional)

How to Make Butter Chicken


  1. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, cumin and sugar in a large bowl, and whisk until well blended. Add the chicken, and coat all the chicken thighs with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to one day).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown slightly.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chilies and salt, and cook until the chilies are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and marinade to the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
  7. Serve chicken and pan sauce over Basmati rice. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.

Printable Recipe Card

About Butter Chicken

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: Indian

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